Tommy Tomlinson

Host of SouthBound


Tommy Tomlinson has written for publications including Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Garden & Gun, and many others. He spent 23 years as a reporter and local columnist for the Charlotte Observer, where he was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in commentary. His stories have been chosen twice for the “Best American Sports Writing” series (2012 and 2015) and he also appears in the anthology “America’s Best Newspaper Writing.”

He teaches magazine writing at Wake Forest University and has also taught at the University of Georgia, Queens University of Charlotte and the Poynter Institute. He has been a speaker at workshops and conferences across the country.

His book “The Elephant In the Room,” a memoir about life as an overweight man in a growing America, will be published soon by Simon & Schuster.

He’s a graduate of the University of Georgia and was a 2008-09 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Tommy and his wife, Alix Felsing, live in Charlotte.

SouthBound Podcast Archives on WFAE

New episodes of SouthBound will be published every other week on Wednesday.

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Courtesy of the Artist

In honor of SouthBound guest Kimmery Martin, a Kentucky native, here's a batch of songs by Kentucky artists -- and some others that reference the Bluegrass State. Plus a little Juice Newton at the end in honor of Kimmery's novel, "The Queen of Hearts."

Kimmery Martin's first novel, "The Queen of Hearts," has got love, death, humor, secrets, hot doctor sex, and a medical procedure performed with a fork. Does that sound like something you might be interested in reading?

Billy Graham Evangelical Association/ DeMoss

Billy Graham will be laid to rest Friday at his library in Charlotte. Two former presidents have already paid their respects and President Trump is expected at the funeral today, along with 2,300 other family, friends, and dignitaries. Tommy Tomlinson, host of WFAE’s SouthBound podcast, shares his thoughts about Graham and reads from his 2007 Charlotte Observer column about the evangelist's impact. 

Dirt Track Date by Southern Culture on the Skids
Southern Culture on the Skids

In tribute to our guest Andrea Kirby -- a pioneering woman in sportscasting -- we present songs by Southern artists that feature sports ... or at least mention them somewhere. (We kick off with the not-technically-Southern "Wide World of Sports" theme in honor of Andrea's time on the show.)

ABC Sports

If you're a sports fan of a certain age, you probably know Andrea Kirby's voice. From her roots in Alabama, she became a pioneering woman in sports broadcasting, reporting from around the globe on ABC's "Wide World of Sports" in the '70s. From there, she changed jobs to become a media coach for athletes and coaches, becoming known in some circles as "the athlete whisperer." In this episode of SouthBound, she tells stories from both sides of the camera.

Former Carolina Panthers receiver Rae Carruth is now speaking out on the murder of his pregnant girlfriend nearly 20 years ago.

Clemson University Library / Flickr

February is Black History Month, and today, we look back at some of our favorite moments from past interviews that examine the culture and history of African-American life in the American South.

Courtesy of the Artist

In connection with the latest SouthBound episode -- an interview with Josh Burford, Southern LGBTQ historian -- we present a collection of music from LGBTQ artists from the South. 

I had a lot of fun -- and learned a lot -- making this one. For a deep historical dive on LGBTQ music of all kinds, make sure to check out JD Doyle's work at

Courtesy of Kathleen Purvis

Kathleen Purvis has spent the last 30 years eating, sipping, thinking about and writing about Southern food and drink. She has been the food writer at the Charlotte Observer since 1989 and has won a slew of regional and national awards for her stories. She has written three books – her latest book, “Distilling the South: A Guide to Southern Craft Liquors,” will be published in May by UNC Press.

Courtesy of Kathleen Purvis

When it comes to writing about Southern food, women have traditionally dominated. But there’s been a shift – so much so that it had turned into a men’s club, argues author and Charlotte Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis. She wrote about it in a piece last year for The Bitter Southerner – and talks about it on the latest episode of the WFAE podcast, SouthBound. Here’s a preview of her conversation with host Tommy Tomlinson.